What is Sexism? It’s the Oppression of Women. What is Feminism? It’s the Liberation of Society and of Women from Sexism.
Oppression and Liberation
Oppression is in the heads of the oppressed (Internalized) and of the potential Allies (together with their own Internalized Oppressions) and in laws (Institutionalized). To be explained further, below.
Oppressed groups are not always minorities. Women. Working Class. Non-Whites (Whites are a very rare minority).
All oppressions have things in common and each oppression has specific things. Presently there are no people who are not oppressed. Most people are oppressed in many ways, though they don’t always realize that. The eliminations of all oppressions are interrelated. When the Oppressive Society is peacefully replaced by a society where every life and the environment count, everyone will gain – there will be no looser.
Oppression is the systematic hurtful one-way mistreatment of people by society. Man hits woman: mistreatment and oppressive. Woman hits man: mistreatment.
Oppression is excused by oppressive ideas, but the oppressed never caused any of the oppression. Sometimes oppression is wrongly rationalized and justified by pointing at scars left by the oppression. “Women are more insecure.” There is no need (and no rationale) to blame the victim, even not by the victim. It’s not your fault!
Oppressive hurt that is not healed leaves mental scars (so to speak – not real scars) that can be u8nderstood as Internalized Oppression. An oppressed person can liberate herself from her Internalized Oppression. (To remove the Institutionalized Oppression takes the combined effort of many people – see below.)
Example: treating someone as unimportant (neglecting) at first will be met with protest and tears. When it becomes overwhelming, the victim may have become numb to the hurt and began to think about herself as second class. Treating her as valuable and important may at first be strange to her and she could protest that she’s not that important.
Internalized Oppression is the main source of self-oppression and infighting (attacks on liberation leaders).
The greatest powers that keep Society Oppressive are the Internalized Oppressions (people oppressing themselves and infighting within the Oppressed groups) and oppressed groups oppressing each other. The most powerful antidote is to become an expert Ally against all oppressions (see below).
The goal of splitting up in Oppressed Groups and Ally Groups is not to divide – almost everyone hates divisions. Rather, to get things right together in home groups and then reunite in non-oppressive ways.
Every leader of Liberation X needs to become an expert Ally for all other Oppressed groups, since colluding with other oppressions is going to hamper X’s Liberation.
Oppressed people can help each other to step outside of the Internalized Oppression and heal the old hurts. Allies (see below), who never were oppressed like that, can humbly help them heal and support their own leaders, if they make sure that they do not repeat the oppressive attitude meanwhile.
People who want success in uprooting Oppression will win, train and maintain humble but powerful Allies. Children, Gays and Lesbians are the best Ally-winners there ever where. Learn from them. (Look at this beautiful piece by a heterosexual woman valuing them and others: Esther, heroine for those who must hide.)
Naturally, no one would oppress anyone else. However, through oppression, everyone learns to identify as victim (and begins to oppress themselves) and with oppressors, learning to mistreat others. Just like Internalized Oppression was forced on us when we were lacking resources, so is modeling oppressive behavior pressed on us. At heart, none of us are monsters.
Agents of oppression can learn to become Allies of oppressed groups. Allies should meet as Allies, to help each other to become more capable Allies, to help the oppressed to unite and organize the healing of their Internalized Oppression.
Allies can become better at being Allies by working on their own Internalized Oppressions, but they should first regain their pride, not to become obsessed with and stuck in their own victimhood.
One cannot love and oppress people at the same time. Love is to think well about someone, to strive to make their lives more beautiful. If love is hard, respect will do. Listening is the ultimate support. When in doubt, shut up. If you have a great idea, smile supportively and see if your friend will come up with your great idea even in a better form when you show respect and trust.
Being an Ally is not a favor to the Oppressed but a proper way to quit lending a hand to the Oppression. It will liberate the former Agents of Oppression’s lives first. Be selfish: stop mistreating others and get the best life possible.
When we behave in a certain way, in the end oppositional feeling and thoughts die out. Don’t wait till your head is clear of oppressive nonsense. Acting as a proper Ally will clear your head eventually. Remember that you cannot liberate others – you can only be (very) helpful if you volunteer humbly to assist. Don’t be defensive. Use Pride against guilt feelings. Listening to the anger of the oppressed may give you great information on what not to do or say, and on what to do and say. Strive to be non-oppressive but do not claim to be a success.
Allies of X, and not the X (Oppressed), are responsible for uprooting and ending the Oppression of X. X should be plenty busy healing the Internalized Oppression.
Most oppressions kill but in any case ruin lives. Allies at the same time should work on removing Institutionalized AND Internalized Oppressions.
Sexism and Feminism
Women do not need to settle for anything less than absolutely everything!
Women can do anything Men can do and more. Ginger Rogers made the same dance moves as Fred Astaire, on high heels and backwards.
There still is blatant Sexism, like in: Trending: Sexist remark sparks uproar in European Parliament and Homophobic rabbi who mentors soldiers says IDF turns women ‘crazy’ (correction: Netanyahu hails female troops after uproar over rabbi’s derisive comments), but more painful and confusing is subtle oppression: I love you, but ….
It is important to learn what the Institutionalized Oppression of Women looks like, like some of this info: The kids aren’t alright.
Sexism will not leave easily. Forty years ago liberating seemed that women would be free to work outside the house, sharing home-making with their husbands. Now we see that most women need to juggle paid work and home-making while their husbands only do paid work.
This is an important call for the need for self-defense for women and girls in case you need the encouragement: a road map for women on international women’s day. I found the following delightful, upbeat (pun not intended) and proud: Chloe + Renny: How to Fight Like a Girl in 7 Steps. There is no arguing or defense against powerholics. Move away from them to safety quietly.
The more Women of Color, Working Class Women and Women With Disabilities will be supported to be leaders of general Women’s Liberation, the fastest things will go.
Men have been systematically mistreated but are not oppressed as Men – sorry. Men, stop whining and relearn to cry with each other, be proud of ourselves and be good Allies to Women – and everyone else. Men can be patient, respectful and may have unlimited high relaxed expectations of Women.
Feminism and Judaism
At the moment, Orthodox Judaism has a great problem with Feminism. Historically, Judaism gave women many tools and much support to be seen as valuable and powerful. Women got us liberated as a People, made us survive the Diaspora and rule the house, the center of Judaism (no, not the synagogue!). However, Western Modernity has caught up with the Bedrock of Western Civilization. Here are some of the issues: Orthodox women rabbis don’t ‘count’ in prayer quorums. Should they? We’ll work it out, but presently it’s a mess.
Zionism is an important part of the Liberation of the Jews. Jewish Women always have led everyone’s liberation struggle, including all of Women’s Liberation. That is true of Lesbians too. Gentile Straight Women Liberation leaders need to honor their Jews and Lesbians. That is difficult (shame to be identified as Jewish, Zionist or Lesbian), but there is no other way to success.